woman reading in bed

woman reading in bed

The other day, I wrote about some darker books, and a few readers asked for lighthearted recommendations.

“I’m in the mood to read something uplifting,” wrote Cate. A reader named Julie agreed: “It’s been hard for me to read anything super heavy lately.”

My #1 answer? Heating and Cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly, a funny, wonderful book of 52 mini memoirs. Some are a few sentences; some a few pages. I devoured the entire thing in one night, cuddled up in bed. Fennelly talks about marriage, motherhood, writing, loss, friendship, whatever is on her mind and in her heart. Although some themes are serious, you leave the book feeling seen and uplifted.

Here are a few pages I loved so much that I texted them to friends:

heating and cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly

heating and cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly

heating and cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly

heating and cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly

heating and cooling by Beth Ann Fennelly

Don’t you just want to laugh and cry and nod along? I would highly recommend.

Here are a few other lighter recs from Cup of Jo readers:

“A lighthearted read I loved was The Guncle. Tragedy leads precocious kids to spend summer in Palm Springs with gay uncle, hilarity and healing ensue.” — Megan

“I loved The Startup Wife — very LOL funny and just a great escape. — Sarah

“Sonali Dev and her re-interpretation of Jane Austen’s books focusing on a close knit, ex-royalty South Asian family. Very fun and also chockfull of delicious food descriptions! Also, Goodbye Vitamin by Rachel Khong — despite the topic (protagonist goes home to help take care of her father with Alzheimer’s), it’s very funny.” — Catherine

“Nothing to See Here is the best book. Clever, funny, heartbreaking, and a fast read. If you are looking for extra fun and light, The Charm Offensive was a witty, romantic, hilarious romp.” — Meg

“I just finished The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and could NOT put it down. For a book with some heavy themes and moments, it still felt light and fun, which is all I can handle right now.” — Catharine

“I’m a manuscript editor of mostly scholarly stuff. I read Harry Potter and things like The Hunt for Red October in my free time! And Eligible, which you might like if you haven’t already read it.” — MLE

“How Lucky by Will Leitch. Quirky, clever, intelligent writing with a page-turning plot.” — Mia

“Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. This book will have you laughing out loud and crying and it is just THE BEST. Also I second Joanna’s rec of Mindy Kaling’s first book — hilarious.” — Megan

“I just finished Julia Quinn’s What Happened In London. It’s by far her best romance book, even though Bridgerton gets all the rage. The intimate scenes are focused on consent in the sexiest ways.” — Jessie

“Two books that were funny and lighthearted were Dial A for Aunties and Arsenic and Adobo. The former is follows an Indonesian-Chinese family who runs a wedding planning business as they try to cover up a murder (yes, this sounds dark, but it’s really not, I promise!). And the second is a cozy murder mystery revolving around a Filipino family that runs a restaurant in a small Illinois town — be warned, this book made me VERY hungry. Also, big thank you to the CoJ reader who turned me on to Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series — those books are the epitome of cozy winter read and I’ve already devoured three.” — Abbe

“Sophie Kinsella’s my favorite rom com writer of all! I happily count her as one of my favorite writers, right alongside Tolstoy and Austen.” — Claire

What have you been reading lately? (Side note: Fennelly also wrote an amazingly beautiful book for mothers-to-be that felt like a pep talk when I was pregnant with Toby.)

P.S. The darkly funny book I can’t stop thinking about, and two gripping memoirs.

(Top photo by Nuria Seguí/Stocksy.)